Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tech journalism

This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point that it’s now become a routine for Valley companies to do something sleazy, get caught, then quickly apologize and get hailed as heroes by the Valley for the quality of their apology. (It’s all about being able to fake the sincerity, as George Burns once said.) Bilton’s point was that Path didn’t just grab those address books by accident. They did it on purpose. It probably took weeks of programming. To just say, “Whoops! Sorry!” seems a bit disingenuous.

Anyway — Path comes under fire, and guess who rides to the rescue? Michael Arrington, who runs CrunchFund, an investor in Path, launches a blistering critique of Bilton himself, comparing him to a pit bull who attacks a dog that is already lying on its back, defenseless, saying that Bilton’s column was “a safe way to do business, but not very noble.”

Almost before you could stop throwing up in your mouth at the idea of Michael Arrington accusing a Times journalist of being less than noble, Arrington’s partner at CrunchFund, MG Siegler, weighed in with his own attack in which he basically said Bilton is a nice guy who was either too lazy or too busy to do a good job. From this Siegler leaps off into a long diatribe about how most tech reporting is utter bullshit written by idiots who are all in a hurry to chase page views.

So: Path comes under fire, and straight away, the paid hit men – Arrington and his sidekick, Matty the Angry Chihuahua — spring into action to smear Bilton and try to discredit him.
Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool

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